[Review] Candle: The Power of the Flame - Nintendo Switch

In the beginning, the gods created light- and that light brought life. From that life, darkness sprang. The dark life forms used their will and cunning to dominate others, and the gods were not pleased. They extinguished the light of life with a purging fire, only to bring back the clean dark and start anew. They wished to make another attempt at life, with the hopes that this time, life would not use their malice to dominate others, again. Candle: The Power of the Flame begins with us possibly witnessing the beginning of this new end, and puts us into a world that is somewhat familiar, but just alien enough to keep it's placement in the timeline vague for story purposes. 

This beautiful world hand painted in pastels and watercolors, is full of lush vegetation and somewhat primal trappings. Maybe not ancient, but not yet in the modern ages. The magnificent voice work, beautiful art style, and beautiful music paint an amazing picture, and this is essential for the whole gameplay experience. Candle is a puzzle platformer, and it teeters back and forth between clever environmental puzzles and head-scratchers with solutions so vague that you'll be hard pressed to progress without a video guide. This, of course, makes the game suffer, but at least you won't be looking at ugly visuals and listening to bad music while you pace back and forth for the two dozenth time. 

Candle: The Power of the Flame has some poor control choices, as well. Everything feels like it's being telegraphed through a line of molasses, and holding down the sprint button barely makes the game run at a playable pace. While this is sometimes advantageous for placing yourself around the landscape, it would have made more sense to have your character move more quickly by default, and have a "sneak" button that would enable them to slow to a snail's pace for accurate placement. Beyond that, custom button mapping would have been preferred over the default button scheme, which places the run and action buttons opposite each other, when they would feel better adjacent or with the action tied to a shoulder/trigger button. Nitpicking at the controls aside, Candle is at least a solid game. I didn't experience any lag or bugs, but the game is just...kind of drab.

Candle: The Power of the Flame is yet another stylish puzzle platformer trying too much to lean on it's presentation to stand out as unique and not investing enough of it's time into the mechanics themselves to make for a memorable experience. It isn't a bad game, it's just nothing too memorable beyond the impressive narrative sequences. 


*Review copy provided by Merge games


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